As we celebrate this season let us remember the true reason for the season is to celebrate the Love that God sent to us in the birth of his son Jesus Christ. That is a message we in America take for granted but for many here it is a new revelation.
I marvel as the orphanage staff and children ask us questions about this holiday that for so long was ignored in this country.
Today we visited an orphanage, our second in a week. It is twelve days till Christmas.
As of yet there is not a tree. Stockings are not hung as that is not the tradition here. There are no candy canes, eggnog, mistletoe, or nativity scenes. As we entered the village there are not rows of decorated houses but, the town-square is preparing to house some ice castles and a brightly-lit tree.
Here they celebrate the New Year. At which time they have a fir tree that will be decorated with handmade ornaments. You do not see Santa in the store or at the local bank but he will arrive and gifts exchanged at the stroke of midnight. However, for the children the gifts are only few. Many only receive a small toy or maybe a hair bow or maybe some candy as that is all the budget will allow. Instead of putting the emphasis on the gift it is put on the people you share this celebration with. You do not hear the Christmas carols we hear at home. Instead, you will hear children sing songs and perform dances, many from the past of the land. They love to entertain their guests. It is a time of celebration. A time to gather and share love and a hope for the New Year to be better. Today we were blessed as they made it an awesome celebration for us complete with entertainment.
At each home we embarked on the children with toiletries and gifts that we were able to supply through your love. Today the children's eyes were bright and shining as they discovered dolls, trucks, cars, and sport toys. These they would all share instead of each having their own. But they finally had something to play with. Each child beamed as they received their own special box of sweet treats. You helped to put smiles on their faces as you allowed us to share His love with them.
After the concert we were blessed to have one on one time with the groups of children. The little ones showered us with hugs and kisses as they went off to nap time. The somewhat older girls and boys demonstrated some of the new toys for us. Our time with the teens was very special this time as the girls began seeking answers and asked us to pray with them. Teachers also joined in and they too inquired more about who we are and what we believe. They could see the love flowing from us and wanted to know more about the source. That source is Jesus in us and He is the reason for the season.
As you gather with your family and friends to enjoy the multitude of blessings this year take time to reflect on the true reason of this holiday season. Visit Bethlehem and see this thing which the Lord has told us about (Luke 2:1-20). And please take a moment to remember and lift up a prayer for the orphans of Russia. For they send you greetings for a wonderful holiday and thanks for the love you have shown to them this day.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
In His love at this Holy season
You can see the children on our website http://deti.ufacom.ru